Daytona II: Patrick Sheltra final practice notes

After posting a solid top-25 effort during the first practice session for the NASCAR Nationwide Series in preparation for tomorrow night's Subway Jalapeno 250 powered by Coca-Cola, ARCA RE/MAX Series veteran driver Patrick Sheltra and the...

After posting a solid top-25 effort during the first practice session for the NASCAR Nationwide Series in preparation for tomorrow night's Subway Jalapeno 250 powered by Coca-Cola, ARCA RE/MAX Series veteran driver Patrick Sheltra and the MacDonald Motorsports team concentrated on dialing in their No. 81 Dodge Charger in "Happy Hour" Thursday evening.

Sheltra, making his return to Daytona International Speedway since surviving a breathtaking accident in the ARCA RE/MAX Series season opener will make his NASCAR restrictor plate debut Friday night. Sheltra adorning the yellow rookie stripes, something he hasn't been used to since his first full series of ARCA competition in 2007 made his NNS debut last fall at Phoenix International Raceway before following it up with a noteworthy effort at Homestead-Miami Speedway last November.

In the first session, Sheltra in Pat MacDonald's owned No. 81 circled the Daytona International Speedway in 49.650 seconds transferring to a speed of 181.269 miles per hour. Sheltra's fastest lap occurred on his eighth of 18 attempts around the Daytona Beach speed plant.

At the conclusion of "Happy Hour" Sheltra mounted the 14th fastest time after maneuvering a lap of 49.818 seconds or 180.658 miles per hour. Sheltra painted his quickest lap on round one of 12 around the Daytona International Speedway speed plant.

The No. 81 is plastered with D.H. Griffin Company, Quality Turf of Okeechobee, Buffalo Wings & Rings and Indiantown Marina whom are all boasting their logos for tomorrow night's Holiday race spectacle.

Here are some notes and quotes from this evening's session:


SHELTRA: (ON THURSDAY'S HAPPY HOUR) "I think we are good. The car is a little loose but I think it's a condition we'll just have to adjust on before qualifying and the race tomorrow. We're solidly in the top-15 in drafting mode and that has me real happy."

SHELTRA: (YOU'VE HAD A CHANCE TO CATCH YOUR BREATH; WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN THE FIRST PRACTICE) "The car was really good getting into the corner, but it was extremely loose through the center of the corner and when cars were drafting behind me. I consulted with David (Ingram, crew chief) and John (Hayden, driver coach) and I think we have the problem fixed."

SHELTRA: (HOW DOES THE CAR WORK IN THE DRAFT?) "The car is extremely competitive in the draft. It sucks up to the other cars real good. That's good to know for tomorrow's race. If you want to be a factor tomorrow night you have to a piece that will draft. We were able to hold our own on the outside too; I was pretty impressed with that. The Ernie Elliott motor underneath the hood is stout."

SHELTRA: (YOU ARE LOCKED INTO THE FIELD TOMORROW; HOW DOES THAT MAKE YOU FEEL?) "It's a big relief. We weren't worried about qualifying for the race if we had to qualify for the race but with us being locked into the field it allows us to concentrate more on race setup."

SHELTRA: (IT'S EXTREMELY WARM TODAY; WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO KEEP YOURSELF HYDRATED?) "Staying cool and drinking plenty of liquids. I'm from Florida, so I'm used to this kind of weather but when you're at the track and you're wearing your driver's suit it's even hotter than what it actually is. I'm taking the necessary precautions to make sure I'm on top of my game."

SHELTRA: (TALK ABOUT YOUR MARKETING PARTNERS) "I'm so thankful for all of our marketing partners. D.H. Griffin is an important marketing partner for MacDonald Motorsports and for them to have faith in me means a lot. As far as our Sheltra Motorsports marketing partners, they are awesome. Quality Turf, Buffalo Wings & Rings and Indiantown Marina have all gone above and beyond their commitments to help us get here and I am grateful. I hope to reward them with a good race tomorrow night."

SHELTRA: (WHAT KIND OF RACE ARE YOU EXPECTING TOMORROW NIGHT) "A thriller. These restrictor plate races are intense and the fans love it. It's going to be a chess-match tomorrow making sure you work with the right car and the right driver. You could lose your partners, you could gain some partners, and there are just so many elements that can come into play. Looking at the bigger picture though, keeping ourselves in contention and taking the checkered flag is what it's all about."

SHELTRA: (YOUR SHELTRA MOTORSPORTS TEAM WILL BE ON HAND TOMORROW; CAN YOU EBLORATE) "I'm glad to have a number of the Sheltra Motorsports guys here tomorrow night. Chris (Knight) and John (Hayden) are already here but our tire changers (Shane Russelburg and Erick Wettstain) and tire carriers (Bill Mares and Philip Lindley) and my spotter Kevin (Huffines) are flying in tomorrow to be here for the race. They can help make my first Nationwide race at Daytona a successful one."

SHELTRA: (WHERE DO YOU WANT TO QUALIFY TOMORROW AFTERNOON?) "You know, I would be really satisfied with a top-15 qualifying run tomorrow afternoon. The team has always had a good qualifying record with this car in the past and we want to continue that trend for sure on Friday. I think if we are able to accomplish our mission, we'll be in good shape for the race."

SHELTRA: (ON HIS GOALS FOR THE RACE) "Finishing the race. I've finished both my two other races in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and I surely want to make it three-for-three. The race is going to be intense tomorrow night but we want to find ourselves in the hunt for the final 50 miles. Staying out of the big one and attracting the best finish possible for our marketing partners and MacDonald Motorsports is my number one priority tomorrow night."

Sheltra has two consecutive ARCA RE/MAX Series starts at Daytona International Speedway resulting in two top-15 finishes. Despite his harrowing incident in February, Sheltra was credited with a 14th place finish, one position better than the team's 15th place performance at DIS in February 2008.

The Subway Jalapeno 250 powered by Coca-Cola (100 laps / 250 miles) is the 17th of 35 events on the 2009 NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule. The Fourth of July spectacle race is a two-day show. Qualifying is set for Friday, July 3rd set to roll off at 1:05 p.m. The event will take the green flag shortly after 8:00 p.m. The event will televised live on ESPN with a pre-race show scheduled to lift off at 7:30 p.m. Additional race coverage will be available through the Motor Racing Network (Radio) and Sirius satellite radio channel 128 also launching at 8:00 p.m. All times are local.


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Drivers Patrick Sheltra